Luke 15:11-32 - The Prodigal Son

In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells a parable about a son who demands his inheritance from his father and then foolishly squanders it. The son eventually wakes up to himself and realises his mistake. He returns to his father who welcomes him back with open arms and throws a party to celebrate his son's return. This parable is often understood as a picture of God's great willingness to forgive us no matter what we have done. While God's forgiveness is certainly in view, the story doesn't stop here. It goes on to describe the reaction of the other son , when he heard that his rebellious brother had returned and that his father was celebrating the fact. This other son was furious (v. 28). He resented his father's treatment of his rebellious brother and wanted no part in the celebrations. He had been a loyal son, yet no-one celebrated him. This is the most important part of the story and if we fail to understand this part, we miss the whole point of the parable. How often do we as Christians, resent the blessings given by God to our fellow Christians? Do we sometimes think that a fellow Christian doesn't deserve God's forgiveness? Do we feel like we have been hard-done-by? Note that Luke 15:10 implies that God rejoices in the presence of the angels when one sinner turns to Him. If God is rejoicing then shouldn't we? Note also, that the loyal son's complaint of unfair treatment was completely groundless. His father said to him "everything I have is yours" (v. 31) so the loyal son was free to have whatever he wanted. God's forgiveness, promises and blessings are available to all - not just the worst sinners. All we have to do is ask God for them! (Matthew 7:7)

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